Ragnarok: The End of the World and Harry Potter
The mythology of the Norse is different from the Greek, Roman, or Celtic in that they have a conception that the world will end one day and most of the gods and goddesses will perish with it. Try to imagine what the Norse world was like—long, hard, cold winters when you could go weeks or months without seeing the sun. The best light you’d get would be a sort of twilight. If you lived in Iceland you’d see volcanoes spewing up lava and ash in addition to the ice covering the ground. This kind of natural environment would be very conducive to envisioning a dramatic end of the world.
The end of the world scenario is called Ragnarok, and it means the Doom of the Gods. It will be a great battle between the forces of good and evil. Balder’s death will signal the beginning of Ragnarok, and from there the world turns evil.
Ragnarok will happen in stages:
- A terrible war in Midgard with all kinds of foul crimes taking place, where brother will fight against brother, and where goodness will be destroyed.
- A horrible winter that will last for three years. It will be bitterly cold with howling winds and black darkness. People will starve.
- The sun and moon will be devoured and the world will be covered in a complete darkness.
- Fenris the wolf (who had been bound by the gods) escapes his captivity and will rise up to seek vengeance on the gods who had tricked and imprisoned him.
- Loki will break free of his bonds and will also seek vengeance on the gods. He will captain a ship filled with the dead from Niflheim.
- The giants will gather in Jotunheim and prepare to attack the gods.
- The Midgard Serpent will thrash around causing terrible waves and spitting his poison over the land and sky.
- An awful ship, Naglfar, which is made from the nails of dead men, will carry giants to the battlefield.
- Hel will leave Niflheim to join the battle. She will consume the corpses on the battlefield.
Heimdall, the god who watches the rainbow bridge, Bifrost, will sound his horn to warn the other gods. They will then don their armor and prepare for battle with the forces of evil. A terrible battle will take place between the gods and the forces of good on one side and the evil creatures on the other side.
- Odin fights with Fenris the wolf. Fenris swallows Odin whole and kills him. However, Odin’s son Vidar stomps on Fenris’s jaw and kills him in turn.
- Thor fights with Jormungandr, the Midgard Serpent. Thor kills the monster but is killed himself by the serpent’s venom. Thor takes nine steps before dropping down dead.
- Heimdall fights Loki. They kill each other.
- Frey fights with a fire god, Surt. Frey is killed because he has no sword. He had given it away because of his love for a giantess.
- Tyr fights Garm, the hound who guarded the gates of Niflheim. They kill each other.
After the fighting between the gods, when nearly everyone is dead, all of the nine worlds will be consumed by fire.
From the ashes, though, there will be rebirth. The World Tree Yggdrasil will survive, though a bit worse for wear, and two humans will spring from it. They will repopulate the world of humans. The world will become green again. However, some evil will remain in the world. After all you can’t have good without evil. The Niddhog survives as does a new underworld to house evil people.
Odin’s sons Vali and Vidar will survive, as will Thor’s sons Magni and Modi. Balder and his brother Hodur arise from the dead along with Odin’s brothers Vili and Ve. All of these beings, along with the two new people, create and live in the new world.
Harry Potter’s End of the World
At the end of The Deathly Hallows, the forces of good (Harry and all of his friends) fight the forces of evil (Voldemort and his followers) at the Battle of Hogwarts. This is essentially an “end of the world” scenario; Voldemort’s victory could mean end of the world for everyone who is good and opposes him. If he were to win, then their world would be destroyed. Hogwarts would be a place where people like the Carrows rule, and the Ministry of Magic would be a place where people like Dolores Umbridge are in charge.
The herald that signals that the end will come, similar to the killing of Balder, is the death of Professor Dumbledore. Bad things follow Dumbledore’s death.
- The Minister of Magic is killed.
- Snape and the Carrows take over Hogwarts.
- Death Eaters roam the world searching for “undesirables,” particularly Harry.
- The Muggle Born Registration is born and Snatchers are dispatched to arrest Muggle-borns.
- Prisoners are freed from Azkaban.
Then, just like during Ragnarok, the Battle of Hogwarts pits the forces of good against the forces of evil one-on-one. Bad people die.
- Molly Weasley kills Bellatrix Lestrange.
- George Weasley and Lee Jordan take out the Death Eater Yaxley.
- Professor Flitwick kills Dolohov.
- Hagrid kills Macnair, the executioner.
- Ron and Nevilled “bring down” Fenrir Greyback.
In the Battle of Hogwarts, just like with Ragnarok, some of the people fighting for good die.
- Fred Weasley is killed in an explosion.
- Remus Lupin is killed by Dolohov.
- Nymphadora Tonks is killed by Bellatrix Lestrange.
- Collin Creevy dies.
Luckily the forces of good triumph over the forces of evil in the Harry Potter books!